DNA and Paul McCartney

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Why Bluebottle is running around shouting 'Festival! Festival!' like the demented possessed people in the Star Trek episode 'Return of the Archons'.

Growing up, the most listened to tapes on my portable stereo were Paul McCartney albums and my recordings of the radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. I listened to the radio series again and again, and finally saved up enough money from my paper round (cycling around Sandown on the Isle of Wight out to the golf club and the Zoo at Yaverland) to buy Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Trilogy In Five Parts as soon as that came out.

Reading the books within, including Life, The Universe And Everything, I discovered that Douglas Adams' loved Paul McCartney, too, as he is mentioned no less than three times in the novel. When describing the planet Krikkit, he states,

"Night had now fallen on ancient Krikkit... a small group of people... were walking home across the hill towards the town... actually singing a song about how terribly nice everything was... Arthur could almost imagine Paul McCartney sitting with his feet up by the fire one evening, humming it to Linda and wondering what to buy with the proceeds, and thinking probably Essex...

"The middle eight bridge, which would have had McCartney consolidated in Winchester and gazing intently over the Test Valley to the rich pickings of the New Forest beyond, had some curious lyrics.
" —Chapter 121
"From somewhere at the back of the crowd a single voice started to sing a tune which would have enabled Paul McCartney, had he written it, to buy the world." – Chapter 29.

So in my mind I have always pictured the planet Krikkit to be like my home, the countryside of the Isle of Wight, with the music of Paul McCartney in the background. The Isle of Wight setting was reinforced when Douglas Adams stated in the Virgin.net interview published in The Salmon Of Doubt that his best childhood memory was of staying on the Isle of Wight, and after all, didn't Paul McCartney once sing how he wished to every summer we could rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight if it's not too dear?

Adams was also a huge fan of The Beatles. He enjoyed quoting Beatles lyrics in his later novels. In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency chapter 8 this exchange takes place:

"Yes, it is," said the Professor. "Wait – let it be. It won't be long."

Richard stared in disbelief. "You say there's a horse in your bathroom, and all you can do is stand there naming Beatles songs?"

"Well, the bathroom window's open. I expect she came in through that."

"You're doing it deliberately, aren't you?"

Similarly, in The Salmon of Doubt in Chapter 3 during the conversation between Dirk and Kate, Kate asks and Dirk replies:

"So?" "I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair."

– a reference to 'Norwegian Wood', followed shortly by a 'Hey Jude, don't make it bad' reference in the following chapter.

Douglas Adams was a keen guitar player and was good friends with Paul 'Wix' Wickens. Paul 'Wix' Wickens has also been Paul McCartney's pianist and keyboard player since 1989 and still tours with him. Paul 'Wix' Wickens also composed the music for the Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential editions of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy radio series. Douglas Adams also attended the 1999 Paul McCartney Live At The Cavern concert in Liverpool.

This year – 42 years since the first Isle of Wight Festival2 – it has been announced that Sir Paul McCartney will perform at the festival for the first time. It appears that my visions of capturing the Krikkit experience is coming true3

So this summer, if you want to experience an event that sadly Douglas Adams cannot but would certainly have enjoyed, why not go along to see Paul McCartney live at the Isle of Wight Festival4?

The Bluebottle Archive

A reader of the h2g2 Post


19.04.10 Front Page

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1Chapter will vary depending on your copy: it's chapter ten in one of my copies.—ed280s group Level 42, who are named in tribute to The Hitchhiker's Guide To Galaxy, are from the Isle of Wight.3Although admittedly I hadn't pictured an extremely crowded field at night in a school playing field, more a daytime picnic at one of the Island's beauty spots, but I'm not going to quibble over minor details.4Probably not a good idea to go, though, if you dislike any or all of the following: Sir Paul McCartney, the Isle of Wight and Music Festivals

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